Organized part of my makeup case….

…and ended up with a hand that looked like this. I’m not the only one this happens to, right? Anyone?

mixed hand swatches


Someday I’m going to have comprehensive, annotated swatch pics of everything in my collection. And then, my pretties, I won’t have hands that look like a toddler attacked them with a marker collection!




Stash check

Sorry for the radio silence this week. I’ve got a couple of posts in the works, I promise! In the meantime, here’s a shot of how I spent this evening: a complete swatching of my nail polish stash. Ooooh, aaaah!


Spring weather means spring nails!

Things have been unseasonably weird here in New York lately. We hit 75° a few days ago, and then the night after that we had snow! Nevertheless, the approach of spring means it’s time to start using colors that aren’t quite so…severe. I decided to try my first real polka-dot manicure today, using a couple of colors that seemed springy.

Easter nails!
Easter egg nails!

For a base coat here I used Sally Hansen Double Duty, which, as usual, I then immediately proceeded to scuff up on four nails by smashing them into the edge of my desk. Nevertheless, I plowed onwards and added Rimmel Salon Pro with LYCRA in “Yes sir!”, a dusty sage green creme.

I really like these Salon Pro polishes; they dry quickly and the Lycra really does seem to make them a bit more flexible and forgiving of activities that would chip other polishes. “Yes sir!” applied just the slightest bit streaky on the first coat, but a second coat evened it out and made it perfectly opaque. You could probably get away with one coat on this if you applied it thickly. I also love the brush on these Rimmel polishes – it’s a bit shorter and wider than a typical nail polish brush, and two swipes covers my nails just perfectly.

Rimmel brush
Rimmel brush

I waited about five minutes after applying “Yes sir!” before I attacked with my dotting tool. The polka dots here are L’Oreal Color Riche in “I Will!” (the white dots) and E.L.F. “Nude” from the 14-piece Brights Nail Cube gift set (the pink dots – side note: there is also a E.L.F. Essential shade called “Nude”, but I can’t tell from eyeballing it on the website if it’s the same color).

A dotting tool, by the way, looks like this:

Double-ended dotting tool
Double-ended dotting tool (pardon the crust on the end – I didn’t clean off the polish before I took this photo)

It’s a pencil-sized object with a tip that tapers and then rounds off (mine has two ends, with two different-sizes rounded heads). You dip the tool into your polish, the touch it to your nail, and it leaves behind a perfectly-round dot. Well, or a mostly-round dot. Or occasionally a smear, if you’re me. But at any rate, it produces better dot results than you can ever hope to get by just dabbing a nail polish wand to your nail.

At this point, I had some unevenness in my polish, more the fault of my scuffed base coat than of the polishes themselves. Luckily, I have a secret weapon: Seche Vite topcoat, which is magic as far as I’m concerned. I’d seen blogs rave about it for months before I decided to try it, though I didn’t quite understand what could be so special about a topcoat, but it turns out Seche Vite has a couple of things going for it. First, it can be applied over wet nail polish. Not just “this isn’t quite dry” nail polish, but even “I just put that on thirty seconds ago” nail polish. Second, it dries almost gel-polish-like, so that rather than being hard and chip-y, it dents and then bounces back, and its thickness evens out any unevenness in the polish underneath it. And third, once it’s on your nail, your nails are basically dry in ten minutes. I mean, don’t go smashing them into things or anything – you can still harm your manicure – but the tackiness that comes with normal nail polish dry-time isn’t there. You go right from wet to “can use my hands, carefully”.

A closer look at my dots
A closer look at my dots

And that’s what goes into a polka-dot manicure! With a dotting tool, this is actually a really, really simple way to get some cute nail art on your hands, very little coordination required.

Stay tuned for some shots of how this manicure wears over time, coming in a few days.